Friday 9 September 2011

On evil

I really do try and avoid the Mail Online, so help me I do. I'm not one of these "don't link to the Mail, you just give them what they want and pay their advertisers" people because for every one of them there are a hundred more who lap that shit up. And it is shit, you have to say. Such shit that it's completely and utterly compelling.

This is why I try and avoid the Mail Online, you see. Because if I even happen upon it, usually via a shortened link on Twitter or an absent-minded click through on the BBC news and sport sites, I know I will be powerless to stop myself devouring it. The internet equivalent of reading something from cover to cover. And that makes me feel dirty.

Dirty and angry is the usual combination, in fact. A book of coupons for The Manure Wagon or The One-Stop Plop Shop Manure Store couldn't get you as much free horseshit as reading the Mail Online. Recently, and I swear to you this is true (I can't be bothered to find the article, I really do draw the line at that), I read a story on there about how 1980s EastEnder and sometime C-list heartthrob Nick Berry had been out in public, but that his hair - dark brown in his heyday TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AGO - was now grey. It's difficult to know quite where to start with the things that are wrong with that.

Actually, it is quite easy. It's that it's an excellent example of how the Mail get their stories. In between continually grieving for Princess Diana, and presumably without irony, they continue to be the biggest Pap Rag going. For the record, I consider that "news" is overstretched to the point of self-parody these days. Twenty-four hour news channels and billions of news websites updated by the second are revealing what we all know... even on a busy day there's really only enough news (i.e. stuff that's actually happened that has some bearing on other stuff) to fill a 15-20 minute teatime bulletin. Even within the new "give 45 minutes over to discussing what might happen" paradigm, though, sending a load of sweaty rat bastard paparazzi photographers out onto the streets of North London to take photos of Christine Bleakley in her sweats has never been news. Never has, never will.

And even within THAT filthy paradigm, stuff like this just makes my overworked forehead veins bulge threateningly. The thing is, in this wretched piece of non-journalism about Peaches Geldof being very thin, you just know that the bikini photographs of her looking much healthier on a beach will probably have appeared in a similar piece at the time they were taken - maybe even on the same site, who knows - with 200 finely-wrought words about what a fat cow Peaches Geldof is.

I'm sick to death of the modern day celebrity culture. But that's no reason to taunt them to from one extreme to another until they drop dead. At which stage you can perhaps issue a glossy 32-page pull-out retrospective of their life? For a small additional price, of course.

Gladiatorial combat in Roman times, eh? We're so much more civilised than that now. Thumbs down.

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